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PhD in computational drug development, with focus on new antibiotics.

Type of employment: Fixed-term employment, 4 years
Extent: 100 %
Location: Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, Gothenburg
First day of employment: April 1 2016
Reference number: UR 2016/122

Research and graduate education at the department of chemistry and molecular biology comprises a wide scientific field from the atomic and molecular levels all the way through cells to intact organisms. Much of the phenomena studied here impact on our natural environment and living systems. We participate in undergraduate programs in chemistry, molecular biology, medicinal chemistry, biology, marine sciences, and pharmacy.
A third cycle education at our department will lead to a Ph.D. in Natural sciences, natural sciences with a specialisation in Chemistry or natural sciences with a specialisation in biology. Ph.D studies comprises four years at the post graduate level. The time period can be extended to 5 years in total through teaching and/or other departmental duties.

The research group in theoretical biochemistry / computer based modeling currently consists of PI Leif Eriksson, one visiting professor, one junior lecturer (part time), two postdocs and three PhD students. We work in a wide range of areas, from studies of membrane model systems to protein structure, function and interactions, DNA damage, and drug development primarily relating to antibiotics and cancer. The group is highly international, and has an extensive network of collaborations both within Sweden and abroad. We partake in EU-COST networks as well as MSCA-ITNs. We have access to all relevant software and have a generous allocation of computing time at national supercomputing facilities.

Job assignments

Antibiotics resistance is an increasing and alarming threat to mankind. An increasing number of pathogenic bacteria have proven capable of development of resistance against essentially all antibiotics known to man. The search for new targets, and identification of inhibitors against these, in multi-resistant bacteria is of utmost importance. To this end, a center formation was initiated at University of Gothenburg, called UGOT CARe (Center for antibiotic resistance research), which commences during 2016. The current research project deals with an identified target that will be a focus area within the UGOT CARe center formation, namely carbapenemases. Carbapenems are one class of “last-resort” antibiotics, invaluable for treating serious infections, particularly those caused by multi-resistant strains of Gram-negative bacterial species. Bacteria of the family Enterobacteriaceae that have acquired enzymes degrading carbapenems (carbapenemases) are usually extensively resistant and are thus notoriously difficult to treat, typically requiring drugs often associated with serious side effects. Multi-resistant Carbapenemase Producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) now spread rapidly around the world threatening the very basis of modern healthcare and is thus often regarded as the greatest resistance threat on the horizon. The aim of this part of the project involves detailed study of the mechanisms of action of carbapenemases, identification of inhibitors able to block the degradation mechanism, and studies of selectivity of carbapenemases from different organisms towards different types of carbapenem antibiotics. A second target involves excreted virulence factors known as Leukotoxins (Leuk). Their mechanism proceeds via host tissue disruption in which the excreted Leuk form pores in host immune cell plasma membranes. The resulting effects are devastating, and proceed via host cells lysis and ensuing necrosis. The pore formation is assumed to be achieved sequentially, and is initiated by bacterial excretion of two monomer proteins (alfa and beta). The proteins adhere, independently of each other, to a host immune cell (e.g. neutrophil, but also other immune potent cells) whereafter they join into a four plus four octamer spanning the host cell membrane. We will in this case focus on the Leukotoxin LukED particularly common in S. Aureus (including MRSA), and which is highly efficient in killing neutrophils, red blood cells and phagocytes.

PhD studies, primarily computer based research on protein-protein interactions, enzymatic mechanisms and docking/screening for new potential antibiotic substances. Collaboration with experimental groups for testing/verification is also included. Part of the PhD studies are comprised of course work.


The qualifications for education on a doctoral level are: degree in advanced level, at least 240 university points, of which 60 are on an advanced level, or in an other way acquired similar knowledge.


Regulations for the evaluation of qualifications for education on a doctoral level are given in SFS 1998:80.

Applications are assessed on relevance for the subject, and are based on a collective picture education, project work and possible publications, motivation, experience and (in case of shortlisting) interview. Given that the project is computer based, courses, Master projects and/or publications in theoretical chemistry, biochemical modelling, or bioinformatics are of particular relevance.

Related information

For further information please contact

Göran Hilmersson, Head of Department
+46 31 786 9022

Leif A. Eriksson, Professor
+46 31 786 9117


Labour union

SEKO: Lennart Olsson
+46 31 786 1173

OFR/S: Anna Nilsson
+46 31 786 4300

SACO: Klas Eriksson
+46 31 786 5793

Closing date


Appointment Procedure

Please apply online

The application shall include:
- Cover letter with an explanation of why you apply for the position
- CV including scientific publications
- Copy of exam certificate
- Two referees (name, telephone no, relation)

Complementary documents, such as publications/books should be sent to the following address:

Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Helena Bergkvist
University of Gothenburg
Box 462
405 30 Göteborg

Reference number should be clearly stated when sending complementary documents.

The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.

Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.

Page Manager: rekrytering@gu.se|Last update: 11/30/2016

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